Fight against scams stepped up during awareness month

2016 poster (newsroom)EFFORTS to prevent residents falling foul of scammers have been stepped up as part of an awareness month.

East Sussex Trading Standards officers will be out in force throughout July as part of National Scams Awareness Month.

Officers will be working with Citizens Advice and Age UK to visit residents who have been identified as victims of mass marketing fraud, offering support and advice. They will also be visiting day centres, shopping centres, libraries and hospitals to raise awareness.

“In just 12 months our Trading Standards team received almost 600 reports of postal, internet and phone scams,” said Cllr Chris Dowling, lead member for community services.

“We know there are many more people who are not aware they are victims, or who choose not to report it and it is vital that we use events like National Scams Awareness Month to offer advice and support.”

One resident from Eastbourne contacted Trading Standards after receiving numerous scam phone calls every day, which included questionnaires and surveys.  Officers were able to install a device – known as a call blocker – on the resident’s phone line which immediately filtered out the scam calls.

Another resident from Peacehaven was found to have spent more than £1,400 on scam prize draws.  Trading Standards officers helped him realise that these were scams and he has since stopped sending money.

Cllr Dowling added: “Nationally, scams costs members of the public £5billion to £10billion every year.  I hope that our efforts will make East Sussex residents think twice before handing over their money.”

Residents can get advice or report concerns to Citizens Advice by calling their helpline on 03454 04 05 06, Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.  Alternatively visit the county council’s website.

National Scams Awareness Month is a joint initiative between Citizens Advice and Trading Standards aimed at giving consumers the skills and confidence to identify scams, share experiences and take action by reporting suspicious activity.